Not all dishonest employees have a criminal record of their theft. So how do you as a retailer know whether or not that candidate for an open position has a history of theft? Here is a tool that you should have in your loss prevention toolkit.
I am sure you have heard about mutual association databases that allow retailers to input information regarding those who have admitted to employee theft, shoplifting and other specific retail crimes. Additionally, as a retail member, you have the ability to use the database as a pre-hire screening tool in order to determine if candidates have a known history of employee theft. Interestingly, the majority of retailers still do not utilize these databases.
We recently took a look at the National Retail Mutual Association and here are four reasons why we believe a theft database should be part of your loss prevention toolkit.
Reason #1: Low number of criminal theft convictions
Today’s courts are filled with serious crimes involving drugs, violence and multiple offense defendants. When it comes to first time employees stealing from their company, often it is viewed as a “one-time” occurrence or a bad decision. Court systems in the majority of cases, with certain exceptions for large fraud schemes, will not find these employees “guilty” but rather continue the case for a period of time. Without a finding of actual guilt, most courthouses will not consider that a conviction and therefore would not have a record for theft.
Reason #2: Decreasing number of Employee Theft Arrests
Over the past several years, retailers are having fewer employees arrested for theft, particularly those involved in lower dollar amounts or simpler theft schemes. Additionally, fewer police departments are physically arresting employees due to resource constraints (offer citations or appearance tickets instead). With fewer retailers pressing criminal charges against dishonest employees the employee never even gets to a court of law. Only the retail has any record of theft. What does that teach the employee about stealing?
Reason #3: Employee theft continues to increase
According to this year’s National Retail Security Survey and The Global Retail Theft Barometer, employee theft is once again on the rise. Apprehension and admission averages are still higher than shoplifters, making employee theft a more serious issue each year. How do we teach our employees that theft does not pay?
Reason #4: Low cost means of initial screening process
It is true that the ‘hit rate” of retail theft databases are low. However, so is the cost of using this screening tool compared to other screening options. For no more than a few dollars you can determine whether or not a candidate is in the database. Think about it – for a few dollars you can find out if that a candidate stole from a previous employer. Isn’t spending a few dollars to screen your list of final candidates before your spend tens of dollars to conduct a background check on your final candidate or two that shows no criminal record (see reasons #1 and #2) a better investment?
Take another look at Retail Theft Databases and see how they can help you in your loss prevention program. With employee theft continuing to be the largest contributor to a company’s annual shrink loss, isn’t it worth another look?
If you are interested in learning more about them, we are offering a free download of an overview of the National Retail Mutual Association Retail Theft Database by General Information Services (GIS).
Interested in joining the NRMA or looking for a background screening solution? Let's talk - request a discussion here.